Posts filed under ‘Customization/Localization’
The Hong Kong community recognizes the need for financial education in primary school. However, it is difficult to introduce a new program into a tight teaching schedule, as schools and parents have high aspirations for student learning and performance. For a new program to be accepted into the school curriculum, teachers and parents must be convinced of its relevancy and quality. To meet this challenge, JA Hong Kong, in partnership with HSBC, customized the JA More than Money program for the local community as a strategy to ensure recognition of the value of the program.
To develop support for the customization, JA Hong Kong formed a program task force that included: faculty members from the University of Hong Kong, university students; teachers from local primary schools, business volunteers from HSBC Hong Kong, and representatives from JA Hong Kong.
Based on input from the task force, the JA More than Money program was translated and localized. The key features included:
- Customizing the Community and Business Game Boards to feature the local landscape, landmark buildings, and key attractions.
- Cultivating a sense of identity for students through the use of local scenarios (such as earning money at the Chinese New Year Market) and cartoon characters that looked Asian.
The customized program was delivered to more than 680 students in fall 2008. Based on the students’, teachers’ and volunteers’ enthusiasm about the program material, the tactic was successful. Hong Kong is on schedule to reach 2,400 students by summer 2009.
Strategy: By engaging the support of the teachers and business volunteers from HSBC through the task force, JA Hong Kong was able to:
- Gain valuable input for effective localization.
- Create an early buy-in and secure the support of the key stakeholders.
By customizing JA More than Money, JA Hong Kong was able to:
- Engage students’ interest and retain their attention.
- Expand the effectiveness of student learning through relevant and authentic
references and activities.
- Cultivate a sense of belonging among participating students, volunteers and teachers.
Measurability: The feedback received from teachers regarding the customized program confirmed a positive impact on learning and a quality experience for teachers, volunteers and students:
- One-hundred percent of teachers agreed that the program helped students understand the role and importance of money in their lives, and develop better financial literacy.
- Ninety-three percent of teachers agreed that the program enhanced students’ understanding of how to earn, save and spend money wisely.
- Ninety-three percent of teachers agreed that the program materials were easy to use and understand and that the vocabulary used was appropriate for the students.
Sustainability: The task force’s recommendation of localization targeted community recognition of the value of the program. Additional feedback from teachers and volunteers was collected at the end of the fall 2008 semester. Minor changes were made and will be implemented for the spring and summer semesters in 2009. To ensure relevancy of the program material, a year-end review will be conducted as part of the continuous improvement process after summer 2009.
Replicability: The localization of JA More than Money for the Hong Kong audience provided the opportunity for key stakeholders to work together to create a meaningful learning experience for local students. The early engagement and recognition of the key stakeholders, as well as the formalization of a cooperative process for translation and customization of the curriculum, were the key factors in the program’s success.
Other JA Member Offices could use this practice of customization/localization to gain support for getting JA programs added to the school curriculum. JA staff can invite local teachers and other stakeholders to help with the program review and customization process—and to see just how effective and valuable JA programs are. Local landmarks can be added to the game board, and graphic images on program materials can be created to reflect the local culture. Strategic use of this best practice can help JA Member Offices build relationships that will provide students at all levels with a broad range of JA programs and initiatives.
Contact: Vivian Lau, email@example.com
To effectively deliver the program to students in Chennai, India, JA staff decided to use more volunteers than normal in school classrooms to help acclimatize young students to unfamiliar concepts and activities. However, volunteering in the classroom is not a very prevalent practice this area, and local volunteers needed motivation and guidance.
JA program managers trained HSBC lead volunteers, who, in turn, trained the other HSBC volunteers. Two lead volunteers anchored each classroom’s program delivery and were assisted by other volunteers. Students were divided into smaller groups, and each group had a volunteer who participated in activities, as well as explained directions and unfamiliar concepts.
Contact: Fredrick Amalraj, firstname.lastname@example.org
JA More than Money includes some terms, ideas, and cultural references that are not easily understood by all Japanese students. Therefore, JA staff previewed the program to a group of 70 students and four teachers who work in Shinagawa City, one of Japan’s leading and most forward-thinking school districts. Then the teachers provided feedback for effective localization. When teachers are involved in program development and implementation, they tend to be eager to recommend it to other teachers and advocate on behalf of its inclusion in the official curriculum. Word-of-mouth PR works well, especially for educational programs.
Contact: Yoriko Kuroki, email@example.com